Saturday , 16 October 2021

LAPOINTE: Concrete answers on gender identity won’t come anytime soon

In these divisive times we live in it’s important to have individuals that can provide definitive information to lean on when in the search of knowledge — experts that don’t conform to any predetermined agendas beyond being an information resource for which we can use to expand our understanding on a subject.

This is especially true when it comes to areas of debate that are within their infancy, such as gender identity.

Gender identity (NOT biological gender) is a unique topic to debate today because for the first time there’s a point of view that breaks away from that which had long been established as the undisputed truth or “authority” of the issue.

However, I admit to taking issue with a few key aspects surrounding this particular viewpoint, namely how its proponents now claim to be the “be all, end all” on gender, and they certainly haven’t shied away from taking an aggressive stance in asserting that claim.

Keep in mind that it’s not just multi-gender identity advocacy I have thoughts on — I have a big problem with gender debates as a whole because rarely are they true debates. Often they’re simply two camps pointing the finger at each with one crying “imbeciles!” while the other responds with “bigots!”

The public at large is more interested in hearing opinions that validate their own feelings on a topic rather than seeking to expand their understanding, and that’s a problem no matter where you stand.

So where can we seek the authority on such a heated issue that, really, we ought to start having proper debates on? Where do the definitive answers lie?

Simply put, nowhere, at least in my opinion.

Our society is in a transitional period where old ideas are being examined through an alternative lens that’s providing the world with new questions we’re only just realizing are worth asking about, and there needs to be a willingness from the people being asked the questions as well as the people doing the asking to seek expansion in knowledge and understanding rather than looking for gaps in knowledge to affirm their own thoughts and feelings on what’s being examined.

With that being said, I have to ask when it was we started taking the opinions of the uneducated and untrained so seriously. When did we start equating sounding smart to being smart, because accomplishing the former is actually remarkably simple — all you need to do is speak clearly, have confidence, and keep a cool head when responding to criticism, whereas to “be” smart requires someone to dedicate substantial time to the study, practice, and refinement of their approach to a subject.

To act as though ailments like gender dysphoria don’t exist is simply irresponsible, as is it to ignore the years of substantial research that’s already been done into questions of gender identity by those that are established in the world of psychology.

However, that does beg the question of just how legitimate that research is, as it operates on the assumption that gender identity is binary and cannot be any other way.

Areas of debate such as astronomy and physics have been discussed for ages, with new conclusions arising and being debated to this day, and that’s to say nothing about psychology, which any “authority” in the field worth listening to will say that we’re just scratching the surface on.

And yet the prevailing attitude is that in the near-decade in which gender identity has been a serious topic of discussion in the public consciousness, we have inarguable definitive answers. For everything. With no grey areas whatsoever.

That isn’t to say that research no longer has any value to the current discussion — in fact, it provides those looking for definitive answers a roadmap which they can use to have an idea of where to start pursuing new research, provided they approach it with the attitude there’s a chance the results could be either replicated OR disproved entirely.

Individual expression is important, and no one should be ashamed for doing what makes them happy (with exceptions), but at what point do we draw a line between being unique and being uninformed? 

Why are the opinions of lawyers and career politicians given the same value as those from professors and accomplished doctors in this issue?

When do we start holding those vying for authority on such a hot topic accountable and start demanding they give us something credible to examine?

Feelings and emotions are important in setting us apart from any other animal on the planet — to disregard them inherently removes a fundamental aspect of our humanity from the fabric of society.

Now with all that being said, the viewpoint of multi-gender identity, or non-genderism, or whatever you want to call it has value by virtue of challenging the established norm, and that’s because what the “norm” is will forever be evolving as necessary — we’ve all read about how at one point Earth was the center of the universe, Pluto was the ninth planet, and the world was flat.

Things change and evolve, as is the nature of things. We cannot allow authority figures to rest on their laurels simply because they’ve has success in the past. We must demand they reaffirm their positions by continuing to research the field and provide answers to new questions, lest knowledge begin to stagnate.

So where do we stand now on this whole gender identity thing? Well, in my opinion, it’s simply too early to say one way or another, especially when no one side is willing to extend the olive branch. 

It’s going to take someone that’s okay with potentially being proven wrong on things they whole heatedly believe and isn’t motivated by the old or the new to provide us with answers, but simply with providing definitive answers.

But in the meantime get out of your comfort zone, have the discussion — a real one — and learn to hear what the other person is saying. 

Maybe you’ll learn something new.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.